Press release about the liberation of Mr. Iwao Hakamada
The Sant'Egidio Community is joyfully welcoming the news of the release on 27 March, after 48 years of imprisonment in the death row. We express our sympathy and friendship to him and Mrs. Hideko, his sister, with whom the Sant'Egidio Community has organized meetings and conferences about the human rights and the death penalty, even more specifically about the case of Mr. Iwao Hakamada’s unjust condemnation.
The Sant'Egidio Community in fact for many years has been following, both in Europe and in Japan, this case that has touched the hearts of millions of people around the world, promoting a deeper reflection on the meaning of justice and the absurdity of the death sentence.
This release, after so many years, is a cause for reflection and commitment to a higher responsability, to a greater human and social work for a moratorium on the death penalty in Japan, and in every country of the world.
No State has the right to take the life of anyone, especially to those who are innocent, as in the case of Mr. Hakamada, as recognized for decades.
While we wish him health, we support him with our friendship, we hope that the reopening of the trial on his case will lead to full recognition of his innocence. We also express our appreciation to the judge ( District Court of Shizuoka ) Hiroaki Murayama, and we hope that his example will be followed by many representatives of the judiciary and governmental authorities of justice .
All of us of the Sant'Egidio Community renew and strengthen our democratic commitment to the recognition of human rights and to a higher level and more humane administration of justice in Japan.